What we read in 2021: The Seattle Public Library’s most popular novels of the year

Curious about the books that Seattle’s readers turned to in 2021? Or perhaps you’re building your booklist for 2022 and want to be inspired by others’ top picks?

The Library just released a list of most popular checkouts from last year, including e-books and physical books. Fittingly, the most popular book checked out last was the 2021 selection for the Seattle Reads program, The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett. The bestselling novel was checked out in digital and physical formats 11,400 times, more than any other fiction or nonfiction title.

Read on to see the top 10 most popular novels at The Seattle Public Library in 2021. (And stay tuned for posts on most popular nonfiction books and kids’ and teen books!)

The most popular fiction books in 2021

This list ranks novels by combined circulation for e-books and physical books, but does not include audiobooks, e-audiobooks or renewals.

1. The Vanishing Half, by Brit Bennett: The bestselling novel about twin sisters, inseparable as children, who ultimately choose to live in two very different worlds — one Black and one white — was the Library’s selection for the 2021 Seattle Reads program.

2. The Midnight Library, by Matt Haig: Between life and death, there is a library. Within that library, the shelves go on forever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived, to see how things would be if you had made other choices.

3. The Four Winds, by Kristin Hannah: In 1934 Texas, Elsa must make an agonizing choice: fight for the land she loves or leave it behind and go west, to California, in search of a better life for her family.

4. Klara and the Sun, by Kazuo Ishiguro: Nobel Prize winner Kazuo Ishiguro looks at our rapidly changing modern world through the eyes of an unforgettable narrator to explore a fundamental question: what does it mean to love?

5. Anxious People, by Fredrik Backman: Taken hostage by a failed bank robber while attending an open house, eight anxiety-prone strangers discover their unexpected common traits in this bestseller by the author of “A Man Called Ove.”

6. Project Hail Mary, by Andy Weir: Alone on a tiny ship that’s been cobbled together and hurled into the depths of space, Ryland Grace is faced with conquering an extinction-level threat to our species.

7. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, by V.E. Schwab: In a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever – but cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets. Her life plays out across centuries, until she finally stumbles across a young man who remembers her name

8. The Searcher, by Tana French: Cal Hooper thought a fixer-upper in a bucolic Irish village would be the perfect escape. When he uncovers layers of darkness beneath his picturesque retreat, he starts to realize that even small towns shelter dangerous secrets.

9. The Guest List, by Lucy Foley: On an island off the coast of Ireland, guests gather to celebrate two people joining their lives together as one. And then someone turns up dead.

10. Malibu Rising, by Taylor Jenkins-Reid: Set against the backdrop of the Malibu surf culture of the 1980s, this novel follows the daughter of a famous singer who, once she finds fame, must grapple with her father’s past.

Want more book ideas? Check out these recent Shelf Talk posts:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: